A question that I have been asking myself for the past weeks : is there any (experimental or not) operating system which doesn't have a "file system" as we often imagine it (with folders and files, and so on), but just stores structured data directly on the disk? And then apps have syscalls to query this data. Like, the OS becomes a big structured database ?

OK, so it does exist.

Now, another question: why isn't it standard?? Why everyone keeps working with files???

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@na i don't know if (modern interpretations of) Plan9 fits the bill, maybe @grainloom knows more

@na The page gives some examples of unconventionnal file systems. Early OSes or specialized OSes (notably embeded) are examples of system using them. However, while the directories may not exist, there is often an abstraction of files.
Also, systems that uses data stored on rom and flash may not need filesystems (often the case with low-level embeded computers, and those may not use an OS).

@na Apple’s Newton used object-oriented databases (Soups) for all data storage, which allowed data to be highly-linked between applications.

@na How is that "structured data directly on the disk" different from a file system?

@na it works, there's not that many benefits to not having files/folders, everything is setup to work that way already, abstractions are useful

@na don,t just keep the knowledge to yourself :angery: please share!
i happen to be interested in this topic as well.

@na One of my guesses about this is that it's because reliable taxonomy (tags, labels, etc) is very hard for people to do well. The more everything is a big database, the more you have to count on either taxonomy (and people's memory of it) or brute force search to find things, and brute force search doesn't work on all forms of data.

Files and directory trees have problems, but at least they're a simple and visible hierarchical sort of taxonomy that people can mostly deal with.

@na a file system is a database. You give it a key (path) and data to store.
It's up to the application to use a sensible data format.
/home/aerith/Contacts/cloud strife.vcf

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